College & Research Libraries News


Carpeting the stacks

To the Editor:

The cover photo on the C&RL News July/August issue really got my attention. Since publishing “Moving Steel Stacks with a Special Dolly” in Library Acquisitions, Practice and Theory in 1982 I have received a number of requests for copies of the drawings of the dolly, but until I read James Segesta’s article, “Pulling the Rug out from under the Stacks,” I’ve never read any reports from people who have actually built and used the device. From the information Mr. Segesta has gathered it is easy to see that the dolly provides a cost-effective approach to moving steel bookstacks and is rapidly becoming an accepted procedure in the bookstack moving process. Dave Roberts and fellow Miami University Physical Plant employees deserve special recognition for their inventive genius in creating this “low tech” solution to a library dilemma of long standing.

Using the dollies to move loaded bookstacks, however, is a potentially dangerous practice. In order to be sure that loaded stacks can be moved safely, the equipment and procedures used should be examined and approved by a trained safety engineer. A situation involving tremendous weights, uneven floors, unskilled personnel and a center of gravity that may be much higher than advisable, can only lead to disaster. As tempting as the concept may be, moving the stacks with books in place is something to avoid at least until some technical expertise has been applied to the need for examining all of the relevant safety considerations.— Brian Alley, Dean of Library Services, Sangamon State University.

Water leaks

To the Editor:

The cover of the April issue looked very familiar, as you can see from the accompanying photograph.

Our leaks have been chronic and have plagued us for years. When space became so critical that the shelves had to be used, we were forced to find a way to co-exist with the leaks.

The solution turned out to be a suspended ceiling of plastic sheeting attached to a wooden framework (1x2” lumber) suspended from the overhead beams by wire. Long drainspouts led from the ceiling to catch buckets, thus controlling the accumulated water and eliminating splashing onto nearby books.

A few areas that seemed especially vulnerable to possible water damage remain draped as a security measure, but at least 80 % of the shelves were uncovered, making the books easily accessible once more.

One day’s work for two men almost four years ago has saved thousands of dollars worth of books from water damage and an immeasurable amount of staff time and frustration inherent in dealing with the effects of heavy rains that nearly always seem to occur when the library is closed!

A new roof installed this summer should end our leaks; however, no one is rushing to pull down the suspended ceiling until we are sure there will be no further need for it.—Rachel S. Moreland, Head of Circulation and Reserves, Kansas State University.

SLA’s 1986 Annual Conference

“Excellence in the World of Information,” the theme of the 77th Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association, permeated the entire meeting program. A total of 5,161 librarians came to Boston for the Conference, held June 7–12, but preceded by two days of 25 continuing education courses. Some 125 programs were offered by the 29 divisions of the Association, featuring lots of CD-ROM, automation, electronic publishing, but most of all excellence—in management, information delivery, and service.

General sessions featured Rosabeth Moss Kanter, noted management professor, author, and consultant. Her emphasis on management techniques and change drew an overflow audience that did not go away disappointed. Following Kanter, Dr. Julianne Prager, executive director of corporate technical planning and coordination at 3M, described a corporate environment conducive to creativity and innovation (she even told us how they invented those little yellow Post-It note pads). A panel on technological innovations discussed such topics as blue sky ideas for the future, questions of government control, and finally, moral and ethical issues that need to be addressed.

The exhibits area (improvised from the Sheraton’s garage when Hynes Auditorium underwent major renovation after the conference site had been locked in) featured some 287 booths, with an emphasis on technology, technology, and technology. Compared with exhibits of even ten years ago, the percentage of book dealers and print material vendors has decreased drastically. New products addressed specifically to the one-person library (a preponderance of SLA members work in them) were the focus of attention in the crowded exhibit hall.

Like all good conferences, this one featured many social events. Receptions for divisions and chapters, mostly sponsored with accustomed generosity by vendors, were the order of the day (or evening!). The Association banquet—always a gourmet delight and an upbeat affair—revolved around the awarding of honors. Some $20,000 was given away in scholarships, and nine members received high accolades. The SLA John Cotton Dana Award went to Doris Schild and Ann Strickland, for “exceptional service by members to special librarianship.” Ed Strable and Elizabeth Gibbs Moore were elected to SLA’s Hall of Fame. Mary McNierney Grant received the SLA Professional Award in recognition of her service as editor of the 1963, 1976, and 1984 editions of Business and Financial Services. Vivian Arterbery, Jim Tchobanoff, and David Bender shared a special award for their work on SLA’s Long-Range Plan, and Fred Kilgour was elected to honorary membership in the association (which he accepted by asking “why now?”).

The business of the association was carried on in divisional meetings, the annual business meeting, and the Board of Directors meetings before and after the official Conference dates (the idea here is that Board members may then attend and enjoy the conference and have a chance to meet with members and be available to them). At their June 6-7 session, the Board received a report of strong financial condition for the 1985 year and the first quarter of 1986, including optimistic reports about the costs of the new building. A new State-of-the-Art Institute was announced: the first will be held in October and will feature government information, including topics such as privatization of information, Gramm-Rudman and its impact, closing of government libraries and contracting out. The objective is to prepare information professionals to take a proactive role in using information to deliver services. Newsman Steve Bell will be keynote speaker, and the proceedings will be published.

The long-range planning process continued, with the addition of another year to the plan, and four new goals added: membership development, government relations/information policies, research, and association organization. The Board passed a resolution on U.S.-Canada trade restrictions, requesting representatives of both governments to study the import levies in terms of their impact on the public’s access to information.

On June 13, the Board elected Laura Rainey as its Secretary. It voted to continue offering divisionsponsored continuing education courses on the Thursday at the end of the conference. Two special committees were established: one to investigate areas for membership growth, and another on research. The Board also approved extending a member price for the 1987 Anaheim Conference to members of the Western Map Librarians Association.

A survey of the association, held during the Spring, had not been completely analyzed, but preliminary figures released indicated that 46 % of the SLA members are in corporate environments, 18% in academic libraries, 12% in nonprofit associations, and 11% in government. 44–48% are in one-person libraries. General matters of interest around the conference were the move to Washington, the new staff (23, of which 19 are new), the expansion of outreach activities, the fact that the dues increase had not resulted in a loss in membership (which remains around the 12,000 mark), and the general health of the association. Following several years of great activity, the tenor of this meeting was calm contentment.

Two ACRL members were elected to offices in SLA: Emily Mobley, associate director at Purdue University Library (president-elect); and Jane Cooney, director of information services for the Bank Marketing Association (director at large).

President of the Association for its upcoming year is Frank Spaulding, Bell Telephone Labs, Holmdel, New Jersey. In his inaugural address Spaulding called for more coalitions with other information organizations and stressed the need for research.—JoAn Segal, ACRL Executive Director.

Have course, will travel

For the past year, ACRL has been piloting a new continuing education program aimed at making the same CE courses that have been offered nationally more accessible to librarians locally. The needs assessment undertaken during the ACRL President’s Program in 1985 indicated that members would like courses to be brought closer to them and at a more reasonable cost. Local presentations of CE courses are currently being hosted by library organizations and academic institutions in response to that need.

The program operates quite simply and can easily be adapted to fit the needs of most local sponsors. Local presentations may be used in a number of ways. Some colleges and universities have offered a course as a professional development opportunity for their staff. Costs are borne by the institution and attendance can be either voluntary or compulsory.

ACRL chapters have offered courses as standalone activities which are open to the public for a fee. Since the overhead is usually lower for those organizations than for ACRL, fees can be set lower than those for the same courses offered by ACRL at national conferences.

On June 13, three CE courses were presented as part of a conference with a central theme. The Indiana Chapter of ACRL, Ball State University Libraries, and Ball State College of Business cosponsored this innovative program (see pp. 523-24). ACRL provided presenters for several management-related courses. These courses were combined with other speakers, including Beverly Lynch, then president of ALA, as keynote speaker. The conference registration included one CE course per person, half a day with three speakers on various management topics, and several meals. The fee was lower than ACRL fees for a single course at national conferences. The conference proved very successful and the co-sponsors hope to make it an annual event.

ACRL currently has 25 courses available for local presentations and is continuously developing new ones. In addition to providing an instructor and paying their honorarium, ACRL will send the corresponding syllabi, evaluations, and certificates of completion, and will record the CEUs (continuing education units). Travel and housing for the instructor and all other local arrangements are planned and paid for by the host organization. Syllabi are purchased for each participant at cost.

ACRL charges a flat fee to the host organization for this program with a cost variance between ACRL members and non-members (see box).

Eleven courses have been offered as local presentations from August 1985 through June 1986 with 255 participants. They have been offered in nine different states from Oregon and Montana in the West to Indiana and Michigan in the East. A twelfth course was presented in August in New Jersey. There are five additional courses scheduled for 1986–87. Hosts have included special libraries, ACRL chapters, state associations, university and college libraries, and a state-funded grant program.

ACRL can monitor quality control by course evaluations, by using a previously developed syllabus and by hiring skilled presenters. Our feedback indicates that this program is reaching librarians who cannot attend national conferences, thereby furthering ACRL’s goal “to contribute to the total professional development of academic and research librarians” and at the same time increasing its visibility.

If your organization or institution is interested in learning more about this program contact: Sandy Donnelly, ACRL/ALA, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Copyright © American Library Association

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